Trending Topic: Inside the Scandal Plaguing the Single's Inferno Star Jia - K LIFESTYLE

A rising star, a scandal, and netizens on the hunt: what’s going on?

Have you been watching Single’s Inferno? Produced by JTBC and airing on Netflix, the new Korean dating reality show follows a group of attractive Korean singles who are stranded on the Saseungbong, Ongjin island near Incheon.

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Their occupations range from fitness model, gym owner, neuroscience student, beauty vlogger, tailor shop owner, and health product owner. To leave the island, they must successfully pair up with another single for a date night at a luxurious hotel away from the island.

The breakout star of the show is beauty vlogger Song Jia, due to her good looks (Netizens described her as a mix of Blackpink’s Jennie and IVE’s Wonyoung), great clothes, wealthy background, and impeccable flirting skills. All the men followed her around (poor Sihun), and after the show, her social media stats skyrocketed: she now has 3.5m followers on Instagram and 1.91m subscribers on Youtube.

All this attention on someone who seemingly rose out of nowhere to instant fame of course means some people are going to find something they don’t like, and unfortunately for Jia, her something has to do with certain sartorial selections she made.

Jia's Inferno: Inside the Scandal Plaguing the Single's Inferno Star
Blackpink’s Jennie in the original Chanel shirt vs. Song Jia’s imitation

Due to her popularity, fans have been looking at her wardrobe to see what they could imitate. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed the difference between the same Chanel knit shirt she and Jennie (who is an ambassador of the brand) wore.

Another Chanel item was a pink cardigan where the buttons are placed differently compared to Jennie’s version. Other outfits from Dior and Marine Serre have come into question, with netizens deducing that some of the clothes might not even exist in actual collections.

Jia finally acknowledged the issue on her Instagram, posting a note apologizing for her actions. “First, I sincerely apologize to everyone who has been disappointed and hurt because of me. I am going to honestly explain about the fake designer items articles that are currently becoming a controversy,” she wrote.

“Some of the comments currently being made about the fake designer products I wore on social media and on ‘Single’s Inferno’ are true. I’m sorry. I apologize once again for any situation caused by the infringement of the designers’ creations and ignorance of copyright. As a person with a dream of launching a brand, I will seriously recognize the controversy and reflect deeply.” She has since deleted all the photos on her account wearing the fake items. 

Jia’s agency has been busy defending their talent. Agency CEO Kim Hyowon of Hyowon CNC told South Korean news agency Newsis that Jia had no malicious intent in buying and wearing these items: “I asked her where she bought them and she said if she passes by the items on the streets and thought they were pretty, she would buy them from the street store or if she was shopping online and found something pretty, she would just buy it,” said Kim. 

While this should have been the end of the story, entertainment scandals in South Korea rarely end so quickly. One of the accusations levied at her had to do with the creation of her family’s wealthy image.

“When will people realize that she changed her name, created a ‘gold spoon’ (privileged family) concept, has an agency that pays for her monthly rent in Seoul Forest Trimage, and is a celebrity trainee? She is not just an influencer/YouTuber who did everything by herself. She also lied about her father being a dentist,” wrote a netizen. Another rumor that popped up was that Jia had a foreign sponsor.

Seoul Forest Trimage is a luxury apartment complex in the South Korean capital. Celebrities who live there are a veritable who’s who of K-Pop idols: Super Junior’s Siwon, SNSD’s Sunny and BTS’ J-Hope and Jungkook are just a few of Jia’s neighbors.

In response to these accusations, Hyowon CNC released another statement denying these claims. “Rumors stating that the agency obtained Free Zia’s home for the sake of her ‘golden spoon’ image is not true. We did not contribute a single Won. Aside from the normal categories of management, such as supporting her dream, encouraging her, and creating content together, we have not given her any economic support,” they said.

The agency maintains that Jia paid and continues to pay for the contract of her monthly rent home due to her hard work: “After entering university, Jia consistently worked as a model and saved money, and she also saved money from her activities as a content creator with us, [which she used] to sign the contract for her monthly rent home.” 

As for the rumor of the overseas sponsor, Hyowon CNC said that the company is due to the hard work of its CEO and actress Kang Ye-won in partnership. “It is a company in which all the employees, during the four years since its launch, sweat together day and night to build. We have never received investments from M&A investment or any other forms of investors.”

Due to the kerfuffle, all aired appearances by Jia will continue to be aired, but any other continuing deals are on hold for the moment. The company ended its statement with a strongly worded rejoinder: “The company will actively take legal action in the case of personal defamation caused by malicious profanities, slander, and spreading false rumors.”

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